Health Care Utilization and Attitude Surveys Associated with the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS)
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Diarrhea is a leading cause of child mortality worldwide. Early recognition of symptoms and referral to medical treatment are essential. In 2007, we conducted a Healthcare Utilization and Attitudes Survey (HUAS) of 1,000 children randomly selected from a population census to define care-seeking patterns for diarrheal disease in Bamako, Mali, in preparation for the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS). We found that 57% of caretakers sought care for their child's diarrheal illness from traditional healers, and 27% of caretakers sought care from the government health center (GHC). Weighted logistic regression showed that seeking care from a traditional healer was associated with more severe reported diarrheal disease, like decreased urination (odds ratio [OR] = 3.35, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 1.19–9.41) and mucus or pus in stool (OR = 4.42, 95% CI = 1.35–14.51), along with other indicators of perceived susceptibility. A locally designed traditional healer referral system was, therefore, created that emphasized more severe disease. This system may serve as a model for health systems in West Africa.

[open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene's Re-use License which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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  • Received : 13 Dec 2012
  • Accepted : 09 Apr 2013
  • Published online : 10 Jul 2013

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